EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.

Amnesty-International

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Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Freedom Of Speech Index for 2012

Posted by Info on 08/05/2013

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Freedom of the Press Index for 2012:

Uzbekistan occupied 164th place out of 179 countries. From last year’s index Uzbekistan moved down seven notches which shows the deterioration of the situation journalists face in the country. Uzbekistan remained a nightmare for journalists. Dictatorship of President Islam Karimov controlled the Internet, pressured the media and punished independent journalists using courts.

It was a good news to hear, that The UNHCR in Kyrgyzstan granted refugee status to Uzbek journalist Elena Bondar. Pressure on Bondar – threatening phone calls and aggressive treatment by law enforcement officers – forced the young journalist to flee Uzbekistan and seek refugee status.

The worse situation is only in Turkmenistan with the regime of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Turkmenistan came 177th on the index, along with Eritrea and North Korea which came on the bottom of the index.

Kazachstan occupied 16oth, Tajikistan 123rd and   Kyrgyzstan 106th place.

Russia came 148th, falling six notches from last year which is explained by repressions and the suppression of protests after Vladimir Putin came to power.

Moldova, Armenia and Georgia fared the best coming 55th, 74th and 100th.

Íà÷àëñÿ ðàáî÷èé âèçèò ïðåçèäåíòà Ðîññèè â Òóðêìåíèþ

Personality cult in Turkmenistan. President Berdymukhamedov introduced minimal reforms but heaped honours upon himself. For his 50th birthday, he awarded himself the Watan (Motherland) Order, a gold and diamond pendant weighing about 1 kilogram for his “outstanding achievements” in his barely six months in office.

Posted in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Two Decades Since USSR Broke Up. What Happened To Soviet Countries?

Posted by Info on 23/10/2011

Twenty years on from the Soviet coup gave birth to 15 new states. Guardian data team mined statistics from sources ranging from the World Bank, the UNHCR, the UN Crime Trends Survey and the Happy Planet Index to compare the performance of the countries, combed through the OSCE’s reports on every election in each country since 1991 to see where democracy was taking hold – and where it was not wanted.

THE BALTIC REPUBLICS

Democratic records are exemplary, but the countries sit surprisingly low on international measures for wellbeing and happiness.

THE EU BORDERLANDS UKRAINE, BELARUS and MOLDOVA
Ukraine and Moldova sustained catastrophic economic contraction.. Belarus, under the autocratic rule of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, suffered less. The troika has the weakest economic figures of all post-Soviet regions. Moldova has the best record of free and fair elections, BUT with return a communist (Vladimir Voronin) to power. Moldova also hosts to one of the post-Soviet space’s many frozen conflicts of the Transdniestr region Ukraine’s democratic turning point – the orange revolution of 2004 – rapidly gave way to paralysis and stalemate… In Belarus, Lukashenko has faced lengthy international isolation for crushing opposition and dissent.

THE CAUCASUS
Azerbaijan’s oil dividend makes it one of the strongest performing economies. Armenia and Georgia have both seen incipient growth through the 2000s rudely interrupted by the global recession of 2008/09. The frozen conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Abkhazia (Georgia) ..Georgia and Russia has resulted in the only war between former Soviet republics (2008). Armenia suffers from the worst unemployment of all 15 republics, and democratic breakthroughs have been few – only Georgia has held free and fair elections.

CENTRAL ASIA
A mixed economic story: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expanded their economies more than 400 %. And although these are the happiest post-Soviet republics not one has held a genuinely free or fair election since 1990; central Asia is where elections are deferred or else won with 99 percent of the vote by dictators who lock up their opponents and even ban ballet and name a month of the year after their mother (Turkmenistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not post-Soviet at all: they have simply stuck with the strongmen who led them out of the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan the leader died in 2006, while Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon has run his republic uncontested since 1992. Only in Kyrgyzstan Soviet-era leader Askar Akayev was ousted in 2005.

RUSSIA
Russia has reversed its dramatic economic decline. .its life expectancy persisting below 70 on account of, among other factors, chronic problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Russia has the highest HIV rate (along with Ukraine), the highest homicide rate and the highest prison population of the former Soviet Union. Elections are once again foregone conclusions; governors, once elected, are now appointed. The ‘vertical’ of power centred on the Kremlin appears as strong as it was in Soviet times.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, EU, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

EU Does Not Recognize Constitutional Presidential Elections In Abkhazia

Posted by Info on 28/08/2011

The breakaway region of Georgia , Abkhazia went to the polls on Friday following the death of President Sergei Bagapsh in May.The turnout was 72%. Alexander Ankvab has won the presidential election with 54.9% of the vote.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Ankvab on his victory but Tbilisi called the polls illegitimate and NATO said it would not recognize them.
“The alliance reiterates its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Russia has thousands of troops in Abkhazia and issues Russian passports to its residents.

BUT The European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework
within which the presidential elections in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia have taken place, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said.“The European Union reiterates its support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law.”

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Dozens Of Arrested Protesters Remain Missing In Georgia

Posted by Info on 06/06/2011

President Saakashvilli speaks of bringing a Western-style democracy to Georgia, but his police used extreme force against largely peaceful protestors. In the aftermath there have been tales of aggression behind bars, of people going missing causing deep concerns amongst their friends and their relatives.

Giuli’s son was a member of an opposition group. He was arrested as part of the crackdown on opposition three days before the protests took place. She has not seen or heard from him since and has no idea where he is now.
“I was told he was at one police station, so I went there. But they said he had been moved to a police station in another region. When I went to that one they said he was not there either. So now he is missing. I do not know why,” says the mother of the missing opposition member.

In the days leading up to the protests, during and after them, many people have been arrested. Finding all these people is proving extremely difficult.
Inconsistencies in official information are even more troubling when it comes to some of the deaths surrounding the protests.

Days after the demonstration, Niko Kvindradze’s body was found on a roof near the protest area. He was last seen photographed amongst those being detained. The circumstances of his death remain extremely unclear.

“There are lots of questions about these bodies because we were receiving a lot of information from inside, when people were just leaving police – beaten people, demonstrators – that people were being beaten so terribly that there were cases of death,”
said Georgian opposition leader Nino Burdzanadze.
“The isolators, the police, the Ministry of Interior they did not give us a response about where these people were, so they did not give out any information about where these people were detained and so on, so it was a huge mess.”

The Georgian government used force to disrupt opposition protests in the capital Tbilisi after midnight on May 26 in order to clear the streets for the Independence Day parade. The demonstrators refused to leave the streets after four days of protests vowing to oust President Saakashvili.

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Georgia: New Law Prevent Former KGB Agents To Take Positions In Government

Posted by Info on 31/05/2011

Georgia will destroy Soviet-era monuments and change any street names which refer to its Communist past, lawmakers decided on Tuesday, passing a new law aimed at distancing the country from its former master Russia.

The so-called Freedom Charte
r will set up a commission led by the Interior Ministry to identify symbols, monuments, inscriptions, street and park names “that may reflect or contain elements of Soviet or fascist ideology” and consider their removal.

The law will also prevent former KGB agents and senior Communist party officials from occupying high-ranking positions in government.

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Georgia Fails To Properly Investigate War Crimes. Unable or Unwilling?

Posted by Info on 24/05/2011

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) publishes a new report on Georgia with the title, Unable or Unwilling? Georgia’s faulty investigation of crimes committed during the Russo-Georgian war of August 2008. Based on interviews with a large sample of witnesses to and victims of alleged crimes, the NHC concludes that Georgian authorities are at least both partly unable and partly unwilling to conduct an effective investigation into crimes falling within the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC) allegedly committed during and after the August 2008 war.

The report is researched together with three prominent Georgian human rights groups (Article 42, Georgian Young Lawyers’ association, and the Human Rights Center – HRC) in the period from October to December 2010. 244 individual applicants to the European Court of Human Rights in cases related to alleged crimes committed during and after the 2008 war were interviewed about what they knew about the investigation. All of the interviewees had lodged applications against Russia with the European Court, and would appear to be key witnesses. Only 26 % of them had been questioned by the police, and 3 % were aware of other investigative steps.

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Georgia: 3,000 People Demonstrate Demanding Government Resignation

Posted by Info on 23/05/2011

Some 3,000 people gathered on Sunday in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, demanding a resignation of the present authorities as well as early presidential and general elections.
A clash took place here in the morning when there were no more than 30-40 protesters. According to organisers of the rally, policemen, armed with clubs and shields and with the use of tear-gas and rubber bullets tried to disperse the gathering. As a result, several men, including one woman, were injured. In turn, representatives of the Interior Ministry report an attack by protesters on law enforcers.

Leaders of the Nation-Wide Assembly of Georgia (NWAG) which organised the action, reported that a group of unidentified people attacked rally participants. The NWAG goes on with peaceful methods of struggle to achieve a resignation of authorities and fixing early presidential and parliamentary elections.

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ECHR Ordered Georgia To Pay 50 000 Euro To Parents Of Kidnapped and Killed

Posted by Info on 29/04/2011

The Strasbourg court ordered the Georgian government to pay € 50,000 ($74,000) to the parents of the victim. Sandro Girgvliani, 28, was kidnapped and beaten to death by interior ministry officers in January 2006, after he became involved in an argument with a group of high-ranking ministry officials in a Tbilisi café.

The court found that the investigation into the death of Sandro Girgvliani lacked “independence, impartiality, objectivity and thoroughness”.

The court criticized the Georgian government for showing unreasonable lenience toward the four perpetrators. It expressed particular concern over attempts by the Ministry of the Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office, the domestic courts and the President of Georgia to prevent justice from being done in the Girgvliani case.

In July 2006, the Tbilisi City Court found four interior ministry officials guilty of killing Girgvliani. The men were sentenced to between seven and eight years in prison. All four were pardoned and released after serving just over three years of their sentences.
After details of Sandro Girgvliani’s murder were exposed by a Georgian TV station, the case became a major political issue, with many both in Georgia and abroad calling for a full and transparent investigation. The conduct of the investigation and trial, however, led many to suspect a far-reaching cover-up designed to protect high ranking interior ministry officials. The suspicions contributed to the 2007 opposition protests in Tbilisi, resulting in a police crackdown that left hundreds injured.

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UN Court Rejects Georgia Case Against Russia Over War

Posted by Info on 01/04/2011

In a 10-6 vote of judges from the The International Court of JusticeI in The Hague upheld Russia’s argument that the court did not have jurisdiction to examine the Georgian complaint, because the two sides had not tried to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

Georgia said Russia and the rebels had used ethnic violence against Georgians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and therefore Russia had violated the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Russia took control of the two Georgian regions in a brief war in August 2008.
Thousands of ethnic Georgians fled the regions during the conflict and many remain internally displaced in Georgia.

“The court has simply ruled that, due to a procedural technicality… the proceedings will not immediately lead to further consideration of the merits of the case against Russia. However, the court has left open the possibility that the case can proceed once the formal conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction by the court, as required by the 1965 convention, have been met.”a government statement said.

In September 2009 an EU-sponsored report said both sides had violated international law. It found that Georgia had attacked the Russian-backed South Ossetian rebels, triggering the war, after months of provocation.

Toward the end of a five-day war in 2008, Georgia filed a complaint that Russian authorities and militias allied to Moscow murdered thousands of ethnic Georgians and displaced some 300,000 people in a two-decade campaign of discrimination in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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PACE Names Nine States With Delays’ In Implementing Judgments Of EC

Posted by Info on 27/01/2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its adopted resolution, based on a report by Christos Pourgourides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), the Assembly said structural problems in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine were causing “extremely worrying delays” in implementing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The main problems were deaths or ill-treatment caused by law-enforcement officials, unlawful or over-long detention, legal proceedings which take too long and court judgments which are not enforced.

Other states with outstanding problems include include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzgovina, Georgia and Serbia.

In a separate resolution, based on a report by David Darchiashvili (Georgia, EPP/CD), the Assembly also denounced “blatant disregard” of the Court by some states which had ignored its clear instructions not to deport individuals who might be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. Such “interim measures”, usually involving failed asylum seekers or irregular migrants whose expulsion is imminent, are intended to give the Court time to consider their complaints. States should “fully comply with the letter and spirit” of these requests.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, EU, Georgia, Moldova, others, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Is European Court Decision To Throw Out Ossetian Cases “Politicized” ?

Posted by Info on 17/01/2011

The refusal of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to consider 1,549 lawsuits against Georgia over the events of August 2008 is “unfair” and “politicized”, said South Ossetian FM Murat Dzhioyev. The cases were filed by a group of over 3,300 Russian and South Ossetian peacekeepers over the violations of the European Convention of Human Rights during the Georgian attack on South Ossetia in August 2008. The Court ruled to strike out the lawsuits over a failure by legal representatives of the applicants to supply additional information.

Comment:

Soon after the war (i.e. in September-October 2008) the group of approximately 200 people from the Russian prosecutor’s office was seconded from Moscow to Vladikavkaz. They were instructed to find the people who fled Samachablo/South Ossetia in relation to the war and “assist” the local lawyers from Vladikavkaz to submit on behalf of these people as many applications to the ECtHR as possible thus about 3,300.

The fifth section of the ECtHR then selected seven cases which it believed reflected all of the factual grounds based on which those 3,300 application were submitted. Those seven cases have been communicated to the Government of Georgia and its written observations on their admissibility have been requested….The Government of Georgia submitted its observations in a due time and then, following the regular procedure, the ECtHR transmitted those observations to the applicants’ lawyers for their response. Here the extraordinary story begins.
For whatever reasons, there was no reply from the lawyers. After the deadline for responses passed, the Court has twice sent a reminder to them, but no answer came. Because the lawyers representing five out of the seven applicants whose cases were communicated to the respondent government were also indicated as representing the applicants in 1,544 other cases and given the notification on the possibility of applying the pilot judgment procedure, the Court came to conclusion that the applicant parties were no longer interested to continue the proceedings and accordingly decided to strike out those 1,549 cases based on article 37 of the ECHR. Here the official story ends.more here

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OSCE: Lithuanian Chairmanship’s Plans For 2011

Posted by Info on 17/01/2011

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis would work to protect the Copenhagen principles and support the work of OSCE institutions in preserving the principles, which comprise wide-reaching commitments in the field of human rights.
This represents an essential element of ensuring comprehensive security and effectively addressing protracted conflicts and other challenges in the whole OSCE area, including Moldova and Georgia, as well as Kyrgyzstan. Tangible progress in addressing protracted conflicts is one of the priorities of Lithuania’s OSCE Chairmanship for 2011.
Ažubalis emphasized that OSCE institutions should intensify their engagement with Belarusian authorities and stimulate the government’s engagement with civil society.

Lithuania would advance human rights, including the safety of journalists, freedom of expression and pluralism in the new media in the whole OSCE area. He also emphasized the importance of education to promote tolerance.

Posted in Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan + Russia Among Most Undemocratic Countries In EIU Index

Posted by Info on 27/12/2010

The Economist Intelligence Unit has presented its “The Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat” report, in which Uzbekistan occupied 164th place among the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

The EIU said that the world became less democratic in the review period. “The economic and financial crisis boosted some authoritarian regimes and accentuated existing negative political trends, most notably in Europe, both east and west.”

The report analysed the state of democracy in 167 countries on five key indicators: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Norway was named the most democratic country, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and The Netherlands. The USA and Britain came 17th and 19th respectively.

Russia came 107th behind Kyrgyzstan in 106th place in the group of hybrid regimes. Moldova (64th) and Ukraine (67th)
were listed in the group of flawed democracies, while Georgia (103rd) and Armenia (109th) were listed in the group of hybrid regimes.

All other CIS countries were listed in the group of authoritarian regimes: Belarus (130th), Kazakhstan (132nd), Azerbaijan (135th), Tajikistan (149th), Uzbekistan (164th) and Turkmenistan (165th).

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

WikiLeaks: Washington Calls For Intelligence On Top UN Officials

Posted by Info on 29/11/2010

THE STATE DEPARTMENT ASKS US DIPLOMATS AROUND THE WORLD AND AT UN HEADQUARTERS TO PROVIDE DETAILED TECHNICAL INFORMATION, INCLUDING PASSWORDS AND PERSONAL ENCRYPTION KEYS FOR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS USED BY UN OFFICIALS. It also wants to know about …any corruption in the UN.

Friday, 31 July 2009, 20:24
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163
SUBJECT: (S) REPORTING AND COLLECTION NEEDS: THE UNITED NATIONS
Classified By: MICHAEL OWENS, ACTING DIR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C).

B. (S/NF) Reporting officers should include as much of the following information as possible when they have information relating to persons linked to : office and STATE 00080163 002 OF 024
organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet “handles”, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.
………..

4) Human Rights and War Crimes (HRWC-3). — Plans and policies of UN leaders, member states, and foreign NGOs to promote human rights. — Plans and intentions of member states toward the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and other UN-related courts and tribunals dealing with human rights issues. — Plans and intentions of UNHRC members to support or oppose US policies in the UNHRC.

Member state support for/opposition to objectives of human rights, refugee, development, and emergency relief agencies. — Plans and intentions of member states or UN Special Rapporteurs to press for resolutions or investigations into US counterterrorism strategies and treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo. — Degree of coordination by and among human rights agencies, especially between the UN Human Rights Council, the OHCHR,

Details of UNHRC and OHCHR budget shortfalls.
Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Chad, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, France, Georgia, Iraq, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, North Korea, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe International Organizations: AU, EU, Human Rights Entities and War Crimes Courts, ICC, OIC, UN

etc. the full document here in Guardian

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